For 28 years, Elizabeth Hurley has been raising awareness about breast cancer — and she’s still at it.
“I think the most important thing you can do is familiarize yourself with your breasts because they’re yours and only you know how they feel,” Hurley exclusively told Us Weekly in studio this week while discussing Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. “You should recognize something when it’s abnormal, and you should go to the director right away.” Hurley stressed that getting annual screenings is “vital” and should be considered a part of “looking after your health in every way.”
The actress went on to share other preventative practices, including “diet, exercise and mindfulness.”
“We know how important it is to destress,” she continued. “Some of the research that has come out has proven that when there’s a lot of cortisol in the body, which is your stress hormone, [cancer risk increases]. … So, when people say, ‘Relax. Take it easy,’ It’s very important. Sometimes that’s very hard for women to do because we’re the caretakers of the world, so taking care of oneself is something that’s quite alien.”
Still, Hurley is urging women to be a “breast cancer bully.”
“Make sure your friends, your family, your mother, your grandmother, that they’re going for their screenings regularly and urge them to self-check,” she told Us. “It doesn’t discriminate. It can hit anybody. Some groups are more vulnerable than others. For example, there’s one breast cancer, which is the hardest to treat and it’s called triple negative. It disproportionately affects Black women. … It’s a diverse disease and it needs to be attacked in a diverse way.”
Like most women, the issue hits close to home as Hurley lost her grandmother to breast cancer nearly three decades ago. The loss heavily influenced Hurley’s decision to join forces with the Estée Lauder Companies’ program.
“It’s actually been 28 years. I’m in my 28th year, and it started because Estée Lauder’s daughter-in-law, Evelyn Lauder, when I first started with the company, asked me to get involved,” Hurley explained. “That’s how it started, and I’m still here. We’ve raised $118 million, 93 million of which went straight to research. The rest went to education, medical services, support groups [and more]. It’s a phenomenal achievement.”
Hurley went on to share that the Breast Cancer Research Foundation founded by Evelyn H. Lauder has raised more than a billion dollars for research. In addition to her philanthropic efforts and contributions to ending cancer, Evelyn has been credited as one of the creators of the breast cancer pink ribbon — which Hurley said couldn’t be more perfect.
“A great deal of my wardrobe is pink, and I’ve always loved pink. When Evelyn Lauder decided pink was going to be the color of breast cancer, it was a really good one,” Hurley added.
Evelyn, who battled breast cancer, died of ovarian cancer in 2011 at age 75.